Customer Reviews for

The Mermaid Chair

Average Rating 3
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Soul Satisfying Book

In The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd does for fiction what the Flemish masters did for painting. She imbues each scene with so much reality it unfolds in your mind like a memory.

You can taste the salty sea air and smell the murky island scents of Egret Island. You fe...
In The Mermaid Chair, Sue Monk Kidd does for fiction what the Flemish masters did for painting. She imbues each scene with so much reality it unfolds in your mind like a memory.

You can taste the salty sea air and smell the murky island scents of Egret Island. You feel every horrific and blessed thing that Jessie experiences.

I have never fallen so completely in love with a book before. Her writing is beyond beautiful. It¿s startling and humbling. I found myself nodding and rereading lines, thinking YES that is exactly how it feels but how did she capture it so perfectly?

The book is brimming with brilliance. Some of my favorite lines are:

¿The mind is so good at revising reality to suit its needs.¿

¿There¿s release in knowing the truth no matter how anguishing it is.¿

¿Sometimes the heart wanted what the soul demanded.¿

The story felt like a mid-life crisis crossed with a finding oneself journey.

Sue Monk Kidd¿s website describes the story as ¿the transendent tale explores the lush, unknown region of the feminine soul where the thin line between the spiritual and the erotic exists. Here is an unforgettable love story, between a woman and a monk, a woman and her family, and ultimately a woman and her own soul.¿

I think of it as a spiritual journey that leaves Jessie and the reader forever changed by calling into question the bonds of love and commitment. By reminding us that everything is a choice. Whether to leave a husband, to reunite with a parent, to be fully alive.

Sue Monk Kidd is a master of the writing craft. Her ability to set the scene is breathtaking and realistic. Her dialogue is poignant. Her character¿s internal thoughts vivid and engaging. There was not one point in the book where I wanted to put it down. Every aspect of the writing was engaging. I will be rereading this book for years to come, hoping to gain insight into how she does it.

posted by KourtneyH on December 21, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Buy The Secret Life of Bees pass this one by

I bought this book for my mom cause she loved the Secret Life of Bees, do not buy this book you will regret it. She hated this book and told me all the details daily as she read this book, she could not have hated a book more. Save yourself do not buy this book it is re...
I bought this book for my mom cause she loved the Secret Life of Bees, do not buy this book you will regret it. She hated this book and told me all the details daily as she read this book, she could not have hated a book more. Save yourself do not buy this book it is really bad.

posted by i-READ-BEFORE-COMMENTING on May 7, 2010

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Sort by: Showing 41 – 60 of 67 review with 1 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2005

    Very DISAPPOINTED

    I was SO disappointed in this book. I enjoyed 'The Secret Life of Bees' and bought this book expecting another great book. It was absolutely horrible. This book is a joke. It was PAINFUL and hard to finish this book. Don't waste money buying this book. Save it for a good lunch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2005

    disappointed

    I loved the Sectret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kid, but this book was a great disappointment. I truly don't see how cheating on a wonderful man that you love, with a monk no less, could help you 'find yourself'. The book could have been done with out that part of it and been a better book. Sleeping with Thomas the monk helped her artistic talent? Maybe finding out the pipe she gave her father and the truth about his death helped her release her talent. Now her husband lives a life of doubt, will she cheat on me again. He should have dumped her and found someone who isn't so self-centered.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2005

    Disappointed

    What a disappointment. Difficult to believe she is the same author as that of Secret Life of Bees.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005

    A Painfull Read

    Weak characters, typical midlife crisis plot, I had to painfully push thorough this book. I found Secret Life of Bees original and entertaining- I honestly couldn¿t believe the same woman wrote both books! Mermaid Chair should be chalked up as a slow, shallow wannabe romance novel that should be avoided at all cost!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2005

    Poor follow up to first novel.

    Very disappointing second effort. I could not make myself care about these characters, therefore I could not care about the book. The plot felt forced. This was definately not The Secret Life of Bees.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2005

    A Disappointment

    I really liked her prior book The Secret Life of Bees. This book, however, was a disappointment. The characters are not well developed, the plot too drawn out and the conclusion???? It took a great deal of effort to complete this book. A sad follow-up book for such a good writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2005

    Sadly, Not Worth Reading

    I have to say I pre-ordered this book because of my love for The Secret Life Of Bee's. Couldnt wait to get it and dive in. But I didnt like it at all!! The story did nothing to pull you in and I found it so tired, the housewife who needs to re-examine her sorry life ....blah blah blah Boring and a real disappointment

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2005

    A Confessional?

    I loved the Secret Lives of Bees and was greatly disappointed with the Mermaid Chair. It was fragmented, the characters uninteresting, the adulterous situation unsavory (I'm not a prude, but a monk???) and mostly it read like a self-indulgent confessional. I bought the hardback because there were 500 holds at the library. Think I'll donate my copy to the library as I won't be recommending it to friends. Too bad! But I hope Sue Monk Kidd keeps trying. The first one was a total gem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2005

    This one is a disappointment.

    I read the Secret Life of Bees twice in a year. It is wonderful! How disappointed I am in The Mermaid Chair. I didn't care about the characters, none of them. The relationships somehow seemed shallow. Hopefully Sue Monk Kidd will do better next time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2005

    What was she thinking? Was she Thinking at all?

    Where is the Sue Monk Kidd that wrote the beautifully written novel, The Secret Life of Bees?' In that novel the words seem to flow over each other describing characters that were real and human and that you wanted to get to know and live beside. You grew to love all these characters with their strengths and weaknesses as their lives gradually unfolded with each page turn. This is what I expected with 'The Mermaid's Chair.' As I read the book, I kept hoping that I could learn to care about the characters, as I did about every single character in .....Bees. When I closed the book, I felt nothing for any of them. I couldn't remember one of their names. I didn't care about the mother's fingers; or the underdeveloped love story, or the friendship between the 3 friends also very poorly developed, or the significance of the mermaid's chair, or the mermaid, or anything at all about the book. The only thing I cared about was the Sue Monk Kidd had written that awful book and I was embarassed for her and hugely disappointed. She should have been a one time author and gone down in all her fan's minds as a great author. It is impossible to believe that she is the same author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005

    Not To Be Believed

    After loving 'The Secret Life of Bees', this just broke my heart. The characters were underdeveloped and consequently nothing they did was believable or engaging. I closed the covers in disgust several times, not at the lack of moral content, but at the ridiculousness of the writing. If you'd like a good read about this subject matter, for heavens sake read 'The Thorn Birds'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2005

    Boring

    Kept reading it waiting for an interesting story to develop--it never did! Did not find Jessie, Hugh, the mother or the Monk endearing or memorable characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005

    What happened?!

    This was such a shock...could this be the same author of that magical, beautifully written book 'The Secret Life of Bees'?? This book doesn't even come close to the caliber of writing Ms.Monk proved she was capable of in 'Bees'. This felt like a massed-produced, quickly written story that was so predictable and contrived, it was ridiculous. Not worth the read, in my opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2005

    Who wrote this book?

    As lyrical and insightful as The Secret Life of Bees is, I had looked forward to The Mermaid Chair for months. I also read her spiritual memoir,'When the Heart Waits' and found it to be very interesting and meaningful. The Mermaid Chair is a sad disappointment! It is plodding, predictable, and utterly without the magic of Sue Monk Kidd's first novel. The characters are cliches, and it has the ring of a badly written romance novel. All that is lacking is a picture of a muscle bound monk stripped to the waist on the cover!I can not believe it was even written by the same author as 'The Secret Life of Bees'. I hope Ms. Kidd's muse returns before the publication of her next novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2005

    so sad, not glad

    This second outing by Sue Monk Kidd has thoroughly disappointed me. If I could, I'd ask for my money back from her! If you want a hot romp between a priest and woman, go pick up the Thornbirds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2005

    Let's get to the good stuff...

    I felt this book lacked character development because it didn't ever reveal any flaws in them. It felt like a mother describing her children while leaving out all the bad things they did. I wish a more honest light was placed Jessie and Father Thomas for their actions. None of the encounters really grabbed my attention or stood out. I too felt I was short changed and desired to find out more about each character. I had just read a book called LOVE PROFOUND and was blown away by the deeply revealing poems that are written about an amazing woman's inner beauty. Every poem was based on different aspects of her personality that I felt were really important and meaningful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2005

    predictable ending

    I read this book and really started to enjoy it until it got to the end, what is with this books where the woman commits adultery and the husband basically doesn't care and somehow their relationship grew. I would have had more respect for the characters if she either went out on her own or her husband kicked her out. What kind of message is that, adultery can make your relationship stronger, what was the point of that whole speel about her always being attached to someone and wanting to be alone and instead of trying life on her own she goes back to her husband. Truly disappointing, if you really want to read this book take it out of the library

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2005

    Very Disappointed!

    I really enjoyed the Secret Life of Bees and couldn't wait for Sue Monk's next book. Don't waste your money on this one. Could not even finish the book. Definately will not be a recommended book in my book club.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2005

    Forced myself to finish it

    How disappointing! Sue Monk Kidd is a wonderful storyteller but this book fell way short. The characters are all self-absorbed and self-indulgent. I guess I was supposed to feel compassion for them but I didn't. Even the lowcountry imagery fell short. Don't waste your time. Try again Sue.....I'm not giving up on you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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